And this is why private education is displacing government schools.

The strike that began Wednesday, which idled more than half of the city’s school buses and forced about 113,000 children to find new ways to school, was prompted by a fight over union jobs. But its true roots are in an attempt to reform one of the most inefficient transportation systems in the country, one that costs almost $7,000 a year for each passenger, an amount so high that many of those children could hire a livery cab for about the same price. By comparison with the next three largest school districts, Los Angeles spends about $3,200, Chicago about $5,000, and Miami, $1,000.

When even the New York Times gets it, unions are in trouble. And the bus drivers aren’t exactly a public service union (though I bet the SEIU would be happy to take ‘em in).

 

Baylor School Semiotic Fail

I just dropped #1 Niece off for a day of camp at the Baylor School (we’re McCallie people, but McCallie doesn’t offer girls camps and GPS’s camps are too early for my sister to send her down here to the grandparents).

Baylor painted big red paws on the drive in to campus (shades of Clemson and Auburn).

However, if their mascot is supposed to be a predator, shouldn’t the paw prints be headed OUT the drive towards prey rather than IN, as though the big cat is slinking home?

Just wondering!

Britannica goes out of print

Or utterly online. Wikipedia wins?

My childhood research tool was Worldbook, which I found perfectly adequate until high school (when I started using the Britannica in the school library and real research in books). Until I went to college, though, I enjoyed browsing in my mother’s childhood encyclopedia. Was it a Compton’s? a Collier’s? It had great black and white photographs and really nice maps. I occasionally cut pictures out of it for grammar school projects (I remember butchering out agricultural products to paste down on my poster size map of Alabama, once). It was endlessly interesting!

I still love looking stuff up and then browsing around in dictionaries and encyclopedias. Frankly, hyperlinks are not always the same as adjacency!

Ah, another charming urban finance story from Upstate New York

Buffalo teachers do their part to prevent their school system from bankruptcy. Buffalo teachers take advantage of free plastic surgery provisions in their city contract, to the tune of $5.9 million dollars last year.

Last year, the town’s 3,400 teachers spent $5.9 million (£3.74 million) of public money on enhancing their appearance, at a time when the school district is forecast to run a $42 million (£27 million) deficit.

The free treatment for public servants in Buffalo including police officers and firefighters began in the 1970s, as a way of covering the costs of caring for burn and gunshot victims at a time when plastic surgery was relatively uncommon.

By 2004, the bill had reached $1 million (£634,000), peaking at $9 million (£5.7 million) in 2009. Nine out of 10 procedures are now skin treatments such as Botox, and 100 per cent are described as elective, and therefore medically unnecessary.

via Bergheim Follies.

 

Promising pilot projects often don’t scale

Ms. McArdle reminds us:

This is one more installment in a continuing series, brought to you by the universe, entitled “promising pilot projects often don’t scale”. They don’t scale for corporations, and they don’t scale for government agencies. They don’t scale even when you put super smart people with expert credentials in charge of them. They don’t scale even when you make sure to provide ample budget resources. Rolling something out across an existing system is substantially different from even a well run test, and often, it simply doesn’t translate.

Global Warming Sadists

Headteacher turns off the heat to show children how to save energy — on one of the coldest days of the year. They could wear as many jumpers as they liked, says the Headteacher, who thinks the day was a success.
Remember the no-pressures 10:10 exhortation? That was from the UK, too. Don’t click unless you’re ready to be disturbed by the eliminationist view of the true believers in Anthropogenic Global Warming.

Evil headteacher via Professor Reynolds.

People will just sue over anything

Kick some girls off a cheerleading squad for drinking and get accused of this:

“Conspiratorial conduct, sanctioned by [the Department of Education] was designed to squash that free speech and bring student-athletes and students at OHS into line through fear of reprisal,” the complaint stated.

That is, the parents accused the school of suppressing their little snowflakes’ right to dress in tawdry costumes at a Halloween party. Tawdriness, in world where nekkid dancing is protected speech, is a protected form of free speech. The school’s contention, that the ex-cheerleaders violated a no-drinking agreement, prevailed.

Heliographs on the distant horizon

I find the Wisconsin situation very interesting — and the possibility that this may be the end of public-employee unions very exciting. Everyone knows, I hope, that for their level of education (BA followed by the mickey-mouseiest of masters degrees), primary and secondary teachers are pretty well-compensated, thinking of compensation as a total package. Yes, they put up with very annoying management from above and children every day — but they chose the children part.
Please don’t think that I’m (just) a hoity-toity college professor spouting off – I taught high school Latin for 8 years in Atlanta and 1 in Cobb County, Georgia – pretty much all 9th and 10th graders. I understand a good bit of what they put up with — and a lot of the benefits of working at that other level of education. Luckily, Georgia was an open shop, so I didn’t have to join a union. I got to watch.
But the idea that a union can shut down schools for day after day — and, therefore, mess with the job security of parents who don’t have child-care lined up — without alienating a big part of the electorate is hilarious. Who IS their strategist? I am assuming that he/she is childless — or educated his/her child(ren) privately. Like quite a few of the public school teachers I knew in Atlanta.
And who thought that it was a good idea for the president to stick his oar in? Not that I’m not delighted to see the oar/wheel spoke interaction there.